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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 May;17(10):1314-20.

Rifaximin treatment for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in children with irritable bowel syndrome.

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Internal Medicine Department and Pediatric Department, School of Medicine, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Gemelli Hospital, Rome, Italy.



Aims of the study were to assess the effects of rifaximin treatment on small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) prevalence and gastrointestinal symptoms.


Fifty (50) irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) children were consecutively enrolled. All subjects underwent lactulose hydrogen/methane breath test (LBT) to assess SIBO before and one month after the treatment with rifaximin 600 mg daily for one week. All IBS patients filled out a Visual Analogic Scale (VAS) to assess and score gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence) at baseline and one month after treatment.


The prevalence of abnormal LBT in patients with IBS was 66% (33/50). LBT normalization rate was 64% (21/33). Compliance was excellent, and no relevant side-effects were observed during treatment. VAS score was significantly higher in IBS patients with abnormal LBT than SIBO negatives, and strongly improved after successful treatment.


Rifaximin was effective and safe in SIBO treatment and IBS symptoms improvement in childhood. Double blind placebo-controlled interventional studies are warranted to verify the real impact of SIBO on gastrointestinal symptoms in children with IBS.

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